I have to admit that I didn’t “get” “twitter” “before” I was in library school. I may not “get” it. I had an account before I applied and it has maybe 2 followers, none of which were librarians. One of my first steps toward the library world was to get connected with the twitter librarians. This is how I did it, with Simpsons’ memes.
Part of me wanted to feel like part of the team of libraries early on, but also, twitter has become a proving ground for professionals in our field. There are tons of awesome twitterbrarians, a dozen awesome twitter chats (Michael talks about those here) and just a great amount of creativity, humor, and comradery. After I became one of those librarians I was quickly swept into the social world of libraries (as well as a dramatic world of libraries) on a daily basis.
Why though? Even after starting library school I never felt like a librarian…mainly because I wasn’t a librarian yet. But being in the twitter club really gave me insight into the field and what it was like to be a librarian. I’ve met neat people on twitter, gotten my name out there and cultivated relationships that wouldn’t have been possible without twitter. You’ll learn about trends in the field, dramas on listservs, and, when you’re nearing the end of your schoolin’, where the jobs will open up. We have a wonderful online community just waiting for new students to join.
And look, y’all wanna be with it right?
Step one: You need a username!
So, as you are no doubt aware, twitter librarians love library related twitter handles. @LIBRARYDYLAN @DYLIBRARIAN, etc. (not yet taken) Find something that connects you to the field if you’d like, or just go with something that interests you or something professional. First/last name always works. First name and library. Whatever you like. (Try to avoid anything that was your AIM name in the late 90s/early 2000s)
Step two: Follow librarians!
They say the nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. Well that is how twitter works. For a little bit you’ll be tweeting into the great void. If someone tweets and has no followers did they actually tweet? According to the Library of Congress….maybe. But you should go out there and follow all the cool librarians you can find. Every one of them. Start chatting, say you’re a student. Followers beget more followers. Following librarians not only gets you into the world of twitter libraries, but you’ll get a great sense of what all is going on in the world of LIS. (I know more about the field from twitter than I do from my classes)
This isn’t because my classes are subpar or what have you, but because twitter is so instant you learn what is happening today and has yet to be distilled down to classrooms.
Step three: Tweet!
Start tweeting! Just thoughts….nothing groundbreaking. I was always hesitant to tweet at first because I was thinking “oh this thought it dumb.” You know what? All tweets are pretty dumb. Get out there, share articles, start controversy, learn about the field. Kick butt. The more you tweet the better you get at it. Share your thoughts about everything. Twitter is very different from everyday life because it is a little more acceptable to butt into conversations on twitter than say two people talking on the quad. Don’t be pushy, but don’t be afraid.
Try to keep things PC, don’t be racist or sexist (which you aren’t so) Try not to swear as much as I do. This is your profession afterall! Remember that it is twitter and while it is informal it is wildly public and saved forever in the Library of Congress.
Also, hey, follow me @ForgetTheMaine
Categories: Digital Humanities, Starter Kits
Twitter is a great resource. Two additional suggestions:
1) Once you’ve found someone interesting, have a look at who they follow, It’s a great way to see some of the professional networks of potential colleagues and to expand your own.
2) There are lots of great ways to develop your voice on Twitter. When you see something interesting, no many how green or established you are, you can always ask a question in response to someone else’s tweet. It’s one great way to engage in conversation.
Thanks so much for this post! I’m a lecturer in a librarianship program and this came across my Twitter feed right as I was writing a post about why students should get on Twitter. I’ll be sharing it with my students.
Thank you for writing this! As a new library student (I start next week!) and an intermittent Twitter user, I’ve been meaning to use it more. I’ll follow you! @elizbracher
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